Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVII Chapters 10 and 11
Their next stop is a castle we’ve seen before. Specifically we left this castle way way back in Book II, Chapter 13. A group of weirdos emerges from the castle and accosts Mags and the knights. Since the time Sir Balin beat them up (cf Book II, Chapter 13) they’ve learned to accost first and forcibly abduct maidens second.
The lead weirdo explains their position: no lady is permitted to pass through the castle without donating a pint of blood to their sick queen. They have a phlebotomist and a silver blood-dish all ready, plus they’re heavily armed and they outnumber the visitors three to one.
Unlike Sir Balin, who was sympathetic to the desire for the blood of innocent maidens, Galahad, Percivale, and Bors are all four dead-set against Mags having to give up any blood. The situation escalates to blows quickly! And then our heroes are standing over a pile of bodies as another sixty or so armed weirdos emerge from the castle, ready to avenge their comrades.
The weirdos are prepared to forgive Galahad and company for killing ten of their friends, but they’d really appreciate it if the knights would give a little on the whole bloodletting issue. Galahad’s response is that they’re sure talking a lot for dead men, and then he starts killing them. Malory doesn’t have time to give us a full blow-by-blow, but he assures us that Galahad does such marvels that there was none that saw him but weened he had been none earthly man, but a monster! Also Bors and Percivale help.
Hours of slaughter go by, because it takes a while to kill sixty guys, and eventually it’s dinnertime.
“Dinner break?” asks a surviving weirdo.
“Sure,” says Galahad. Cut to them all sitting down for dinner.
“So what’s with the blood thing?” asks Bors. “You guys vampires?”
“Nah, it’s for our queen,” explains the weirdo. “She’s been in a coma for years and somebody, Merlin probably, said that the blood of a virgin princess would restore her.”
Mags clears her throat. “As a virgin princess, I would be qualified to donate the blood, it’s true.”
“But you’d die!” says Percivale. It’s not clear how he comes to this conclusion, but no one contradicts him.
Mags shrugs. “Enh. I’m going to die eventually anyway, and besides, I’ll just go to heaven, which is much nicer than this dump of a world. First thing tomorrow, after Mass, I bleed to death, agreed?”
And sure enough, the next morning Mags cuts herself, and as blood spills into the silver blood dish, the comatose queen wakes.
“Who gave the blood?” is her first question.
Mags, who isn’t yet dead, introduces herself and explains that she’s dying so that this queen can live. Then Mags tells Percivale to take her body along to the next harbor he comes to, and load her onto any ship. Then after they find the Grail, they’ll find her under a tower in Sarras, which is also where they should bury Galahad.
Percivale is weirded out by this request, but what can he do? He agrees, and Mags dies. Then as the knights leave the castle the ground shakes and the castle breaks apart and the earth swallows most of it. So that happens!
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVII Chapters 10 and 11 — No Comments
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